Saturday, 12 August 2006

more on the "Windsor bishops"

Updated Sunday and Tuesday

For initial reports see here.

Jonathan Petre had this report in the Telegraph on 7 August: Bishops fly to US for summit of Anglican hard-liners.

The Church Times carried a short news report (subscription only for another week) which includes the following:

…Dr Wright said on Tuesday that the group consisted of those who wanted to hold to as broad a base of Episcopalianism under the Windsor and Communion rubrics as they could, and who needed to be taught some Anglican and biblical theological pathways by which they could do so. “They need to be encouraged to extend their left arms as far as they can in one direction and their right arms in another to prevent what could otherwise be multiple fracturing and break-up,” he said. “The Bishop of Winchester and I want to see ECUSA refreshed, renewed, and full of vigour.”…

The Episcopal News Service has issued a report headlined Windsor-compliant bishops meeting has Archbishop’s ‘blessing’. As it is not yet Now available on the web, a copy also appears here, below the fold. This refers to statements issued in Texas, which also do not yet does now appear on the diocesan web site. An earlier statement by Bishop Wimberly appears here.

Friday, August 11, 2006
Windsor-compliant bishops meeting has Archbishop’s ‘blessing’
Texas bishop wants response beyond General Convention actions
By Mary Frances Schjonberg

[ENS] Texas Bishop Don A. Wimberly’s invitation to a “consultation for bishops” in September said it will include two bishops from the Church of England who, with the “blessing” of the Archbishop of Canterbury, are looking for “a group firmly committed to the Windsor Report who can forge a visible link with the See of Canterbury on terms acceptable to the Communion and in keeping with its ethos and mission.”

The subject of the meeting will be “Constituent Bishops: Solidifying Communion after Windsor,” according to the letter.

“It remains my intention to stay within the Episcopal Church and a part of the Anglican Communion even though I don’t believe General Convention’s response of to the Windsor Report was sufficient,” Wimberly wrote in an August 11 statement due to be posted on the Diocese of Texas website (http://www.epicenter.org).

That statement said that the purpose of the meeting, set for September 19-22 at Camp Allen Conference and Retreat Center northwest of Houston, is “to arrive at a common response to the current circumstances of the Episcopal Church — one that will insure an unimpaired relation between bishops who uphold the requests of the Windsor Report and the Archbishop of Canterbury and the other Primates of the Anglican Communion.”

Wimberly said in an August 11 press release that the meeting’s intentions are rooted in the Baptismal Covenant’s call to reconciliation and unity.

“Being One Church is a holy calling not dreamed up by any bishop or vision committee but called forth by our very baptismal vows,” Wimberly said. “Please pray for me and for the other bishops who love this Church, that we may be called to unity in the truth of Christ.”

The Church of England bishops who will attend the meeting-the Rt. Rev. N.T. Wright, Bishop of Durham, and the Rt. Rev. Michael Scott-Joynt, Bishop of Winchester-“having had thorough discussions with [Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams], are coming with his blessing to discuss with us the nature of our future relation to the See of Canterbury and the Anglican Communion,” Wimberly wrote in his letter of invitation.

While Wimberly’s statement says that the invited Episcopal Church bishops represent a “diversity of opinion,” his invitation said that those bishops attending must agree to four points that he wrote are “all assumed as a starting point by Bishops Wright and Scott-Joynt.” They are:

1. “Agreement that Lambeth 1:10 now constitutes the teaching of the Anglican Communion.”

2. “Commitment to the Windsor Report as marking the way ahead for the Communion, and acceptance of its recommendations in respect to blessing same sex unions and the ordination of persons engaged in sexual relations outside the bonds of Holy Matrimony.”

3. “Acceptance of the Communique from Dromantine issued by the Meeting of Primates in response to the Windsor Report.”

4. “Agreement that the response of ECUSA’s General Convention to the Windsor Report does not go far enough, and the intent to find a way to be related to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates of the Communion in a way that is not impaired.”

Wimberly wrote that the four points are “a starting point for discussions of the way ahead for bishops and dioceses who intend to remain within ECUSA, who wish to remain fully a part of the Anglican Communion, and yet do not believe the response to the Windsor Report on the part of our recent General Convention adequately safeguards full Communion membership.”

Wimberly developed the list of original invitees with the help of West Texas Bishop Gary Lillibridge, Dallas Bishop James Stanton and Rio Grande Bishop Jeffrey Steenson. He urged recipients of the letter to notify him about any diocesan bishop “who can accept the four points” and if he or she has not already been invited, an invitation will be sent.

He would not release the list of original invitees or a current list of those who have accepted his invitation.

“Lambeth 1:10” refers to a resolution passed in 1998 by the Lambeth Conference, the decennial meeting of all the bishops in the Anglican Communion. The resolution said, in part, that while the bishops recognized that “many persons who experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation” are members of the Church, they rejected homosexual practice as “incompatible with Scripture” and “cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions . . .” The full text is available at http://www.lambethconference.org/resolutions/1998/1998-1-10.cfm.

There is not complete agreement within the Anglican Communion about when a Lambeth Conference resolution becomes “the teaching of the Anglican Communion,” especially because the Lambeth Conference does not have specific authority to require compliance with its resolutions. The Communique from the meeting of the Primates in the Dromantine Retreat and Conference Centre, Newry, in Northern Ireland in February 2005 stated, in part, that Lambeth 1:10 “should command respect as the position overwhelmingly adopted by the bishops of the Anglican Communion.”

“I need to underscore the fact that these four points are not ones for debate at this meeting,” Wimberly wrote in his letter. “They are assumed as a starting point for seeking means to solidify Communion after Windsor. It is my hope that you will be able to accept this invitation and enter with fellow bishops into a consultation that can produce a way forward that both prevents some in our Church from ‘walking apart,’ and others from seeking irregular means of preserving their Anglican identity.”

Wimberly stressed that Wright and Scott-Joynt can provide “necessary information about the circumstances in which we now find ourselves, but it is we the bishops who are committed to the four points above who must jointly find a way forward.”

The bishops who attend will have to discuss the following five points, according to Wimberly’s letter.

1. “Solidifying Communion links to Canterbury and the Meeting of Primates.”

2. “Development of a leadership council for links with Canterbury and the Meeting of Primates.”

3. “Commitment to common action.”

4. “Thresholds for an Anglican Covenant.”

5. “Care of Clergy and Parishes not represented by ‘Windsor Bishops’.”

“Windsor Bishops” is a title adopted by bishops who say they support full compliance with the report of the 2004 Lambeth Commission on Communion, known as the Windsor Report.

The Camp Allen meeting will not be open to the media. A statement will be issued at the end of the meeting.

— The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is national correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.

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Comments

The Windsor Report's "recommendation" was this: that "the Episcopal Church (USA) be invited to effect a moratorium on the election and consent to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate who is living in a same gender union until some new consensus in the Anglican Communion emerges."

Did I miss the piece that talked about "the ordination of persons engaged in sexual relations outside the bonds of Holy Matrimony"?

This is what's known as "mission creep," I believe. And BTW how do these folks qualify, on that basis, as "Windsor Bishops"?

Posted by: bls on Saturday, 12 August 2006 at 5:36pm BST

So far I am not just sure what entirely might be going on with this call to convene or gather a newly identified constituency which is now calling itself, the Windsor bishops.

It seems partly comprehensible as a mixed middle effort to head off the impending rounds of splitting upon splitting that the first Great Split will surely set as a new Anglican precedence. (You haven't washed with my brand of soap, yet, so out with you.)

It seems on its face to be predicated on the mistaken belief that revised beliefs about Queer Folks exists in some encapsulated bubble of change or innovation, apart from the rest of one's life in the communion, whatever that is. That belief would be funny under other other circumstances in a staged comedy of errors, where we could all watch and laugh out loud at the crossed tangles being woven on stage, to the great and amusing confusion of all the characters.

The first clue to this is that it starts off, presuming that Lambeth 1.10 is now the official teaching of the communion. Wow. Nice spin. Canterbury apparently hasn't corrected that one, either. So to that extent, it must appear from inside those repositionings that things are already going along, swimmingly. Only some strange fringe, that might possibly exist outside Lambeth 1.10, can be neatly trimmed away.

Will Lambeth 1.10 be the final, complete end of our institutional discernment? Apparently – for Windsor Bishops. So we have a closed conservatism, glued on to a high sounding but impossible (and impossibly foreclosed?) mention of listening to Queer Folks. Rather an odd point at which to freeze dry our Anglican range of life and inquiry, to say the least.

The other clue? If these newly gathered Windsor Bishops do actually manage to reach out, left and right, they will find themselves with much the same worldwide communion parameters as we already enjoy. Whatever they issue as their statement of a reason for being, will simply depend at bottom on bonds of trust and affection and inclusion.

But the beast of judgment and conformity and power – (I am a better believer than you) - has been newly unleashed from its prior institutional Anglican restraints by conservative realignment campaign funding and strategies. We might well wonder if, when, and how, it can be so easily chained up again.

Posted by: drdanfee on Saturday, 12 August 2006 at 5:42pm BST

The meeting in Texas of a rump group calling themselves “Windsor Bishops” is to be deplored. It is divisive and harmful for our church. This group has announced that one of the basis for their meeting will be affirming that Lambeth 1: 10 is the “official” teaching of the Anglican church (the resolution proscribed sexual relations among homosexuals and opposed same-sex liturgies). This resolution cannot be made official by the Bishop of Texas or the Archbishop of Canterbury or by anybody else since the Lambeth Conferences has no legal standing. The group will also be asked to affirm the Windsor Report as the way forward for our church. Our church is by no means agreed that the Windsor Report can or should have any such quasi-legal standing. Moreover the report itself was conceived in hostility toward the American church. The group will be asked to declare that the response given at General Convention was inadequate to the demands of the Windsor Report. Let us be clear: this group does not like what happened at General Convention and now seeks to undermine it. This is an end run.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rev. Dr. Rowan Williams has apparently blessed this meeting and accordingly will sent two English episcopal emissaries as a means of expressing his support. We are now faced with the astonishing action of an English Bishop (Canterbury has no legal standing in this country or this church) trying to sabotage the Episcopal Church. The Archbishop is certainly entitled to his beliefs and he may not like what our General Convention did, but this does not give him the right to meddle in our internal affairs with an eye to undermining or overthrowing our process.. We had thought the archbishop was a neutral arbiter. This outrageous act now shows him to be aligned with those who seek harm to this church. We very much encourage the Archbishop prayerfully to consider what he is doing.

Contact: the Rev. William R. Coats
Remaining Faithful:
The Episcopal Majority
Wrcoats@optonline.net

Posted by: William R. Coats on Saturday, 12 August 2006 at 9:22pm BST

This puts the AC's issues over women's ministry into perspective.

Any news of the RC woman priest in Yorkshire reported in the press a couple of years back ?

http://titusonenine.classicalanglican.net/?p=14656

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Saturday, 12 August 2006 at 9:24pm BST

Is Wright ever actually in his diocese, or does he spend all his time whipping the colonials into shape?

Posted by: New Here on Saturday, 12 August 2006 at 9:46pm BST

Well, you are not the only person having that thought, see
http://revjph.blogspot.com/2006/08/more-flying-bishopswatch-out.html

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 13 August 2006 at 12:04am BST

This is again a clear indicator of the fact that those pursuing the liberal, homosexualist agenda are operating outside of the bounds of the Anglican Communion. The comments above sadly indicate how far beyond the pale some have strayed. Windsor indicates the way home into communion with the Communion. It was Rowan Williams who said to the effect that if you want to be in the club then you must abide by the club's rules, and if you want to change those rules and fail to do so, then do not keep on complaining either accept them or remove yourself.

The comments from the Rev. Mr. Coates suggest some divine right of autonomy rather than interdependence. He also suggests that Canterbury is meddling. Canterbury does so both by right of office and by invitation - invited by we, the dissenting minority in ECUSA. The revolutionary war made the USA independent, the ECUSA has not that same independence if it wishes to be part of the Anglican Communion. To be in communion with Canterbury has been the definition hitherto of that AC relationship. In that relationship Canterbury has the right to decide who to invite to Lambeth and who is in communion with him.

ECUSA hath hubris ad absurdum and these bishops are seeking to resolve the issues of a divided church by stating their commitment to Windsor and the Anglican Communion. God bless them and the stand they are willing to take.

Posted by: Ian Montgomery on Sunday, 13 August 2006 at 12:37am BST

I no longer trust the Archbishop of Canterbury. Archbishop Rowan has become another deceitful and arrogant "boundary crossing" thief in the night.

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Sunday, 13 August 2006 at 1:21am BST

"We are now faced with the astonishing action of an English Bishop (Canterbury has no legal standing in this country or this church) trying to sabotage the Episcopal Church. The Archbishop is certainly entitled to his beliefs and he may not like what our General Convention did, but this does not give him the right to meddle in our internal affairs with an eye to undermining or overthrowing our process..."

Gosh. Is it time to dump more tea into Boston Harbor? Perhaps we should revisit the list of particulars against George III in the Declaration for appropriate language to describe these actions of ++Rowan's ... He has sent flying Bishops to conspire with malcontents who reject the properly arrived at actions of General Conventions ... He has given aid and comfort to Primates outside of this American Church ...

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Sunday, 13 August 2006 at 1:38am BST

William Coats spelled out the issues very well. Lambeth 1.10 expressed the mind of the house of Anglican bishops gathered in Canterbury in 1998. It has absolutely no legal authority unless endorsed by each province of the Anglican Communion through its decision-making bodies.

++Rowan Cantuar has gone off his rocker to say that Lambeth 1.10 is "Communion Law". Even +Tom Dunelm knows better; but he too seems to pander to the 800 lb gorilla in the room, the uncompromising GS. Didn't he recently publish an excellent Commentary on Romans as part of the Interpreter's Bible? His 'New Perspective on Paul' position is almost identical to Prof. Krister Stendahl's. Why doesn't he even mention Stendhal as a source in his bibliography? Is it because Stendahl participated as a Lutheran bishop of Stockholm in the consecration of VG Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire in November 2003? Of course, any mention of Stendahl would taint +Tom Dunelm's scholarship in the eyes of ++Peter Akinola and place the Interpreter's Bible Commentary on the index of prohibited books of U.S. reasserters.

It is time for PB Griswold and PB-elect Jefferts Schori to pay a visit to ++Rowan Cantuar and play hardball with him. TEC is not be governed by a Cantuar-appointed commissary. +Tom Dunelm and +Winchester should focus on problems in their own jurisdictions rather than stir the pot among certain TEC bishops, who don't like the fact that the PB-elect is "a girl". Why should 815 continue to foot the bill for Anglican Communion activities from which TEC is excluded? Too bad ++Rowan Cantuar never experienced a wonderful American bishop, Stephen F. Bayne, Jr., who espoused the cause of the Anglican Communion under two great Archbishops of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher and Michael Ramsey!

Posted by: John Henry on Sunday, 13 August 2006 at 2:29am BST

"The Camp Allen meeting will not be open to the media."

Will it be open to TEC bishops who don't buy into the *new* "Quadrilateral" (I was going to say "Octagonal", but I think the new 4 actually *replace* those of the 1880s C-L Quad)? Or will the police be called to arrest them as trespassers?

As I have again and again urged *ALL* TEC bishops to make travel plans for Lambeth '08 (with or without invitations), so I think it wise for non-"Windsor" bishops to begin *practicing nonviolence* now. Go to Camp Allen. REFUSE to countenance +Durham and +Winchester (and +Texas) playing at "separating the sheep and the goats", when that role as judge is *reserved to God alone*! >:-/

[I think TEC clergy and laity should prayerfully consider witnessing at Camp Allen, too. Come Lord Jesus! :-D]

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Sunday, 13 August 2006 at 5:39am BST

I would be grateful to know if there is a list somewhere of all the groups in the United States that are or have once been part of The Episcopal Church.

The matter seems to be very complex, for in the recent spat there now seem to be at least three factions, perhaps more?
1. The Akinola led faction starring Martyn Minns
2. The Network faction led by Robert Duncan
3. The Windsor faction invited by Don Wimberly

There are parishes that seem to have accepted the pastoral oversight of Bishops in Uganda, Bolivia etc – where do they fit in?
Then there seems to be the AMiA – under the Primate of Rwanda? What’s their story?
Then there are the older break-aways – Who are they?

I, for one, would be helped by a comprehensive account of all this.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Sunday, 13 August 2006 at 9:31am BST

Why not just be "open and honest" (which seems to be the prerequisite in ECUSA-world) and say that you don't want to belong to the Anglican Communion?

Posted by: Alan Marsh on Sunday, 13 August 2006 at 2:08pm BST

Martin -
You can find a fairly complete list on the second page of Anglicans Online. However, that is only a recent one. I'd include the Methodists and a wide range of others if I went back further. Meanwhile, anyone else thinking of the Puritans and Separatists?
Columba

Posted by: Columba Gilliss on Sunday, 13 August 2006 at 2:57pm BST

Forget Lambeth, forget all the hair splitting about how many queers it takes to dance on the head of a fine 'biblical quibble'. It's reality time ; and senior C of E bishops will be well-place to give a good dose of it--and truth, straightforwardness, and an end to game-playing...

Wright and Scott-Joynt will be able to give first hand accounts, of the authorisation of same-sex couples, both lay and clergy, by the House of Bishops of the Church of England, in Issues in 1993 for the laity, and Civil Partnerships for clergy and laity, in their 'Pastoral Letter' of summer, 2005. And how they changed Church Law, in December 2005, to acknowlege and treat same-sex Civil Partners as spouses, widowers / widows, throughout.

I LOVE the widespread attempt to ignore these facts, and pretend that the State Church has not changed for ever, along with state of the United Kingdom of Great Britian & Northern Ireland.
In this State, we have gone from execution, to imprisonment with hard labour, to ordinary imprisonment , to fines,to Cautions, to Civil Partnerships, and its only taken a few centuries, to get here. I do not intend to stand around while the last vestiges of anti-gay, anti-lgbt bigotry try to defame us, claiming they have no choice because 'the Bible tells them so.' Why are they / you SO obsessed with your homoerotic fantasies ? Why do you insist in projecting them on to the rest of us ?
Ever considered taking responsibility for them ? Ever thought of withdrawing them ?

THe Church of England's House of Bishops, has gone much further than TEC / ECUSA. Yet the TEC GC has gone further in spirit, than we. How I appreciate the spirit of TEC shown at this GC and in previous years.

Those you who don't like it, don't approve or just wish you could behave badly with impunity, as in the old days, must either grow-up, get on with it --- revise your theology, or bury your heads somewhere appropriate ...

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Sunday, 13 August 2006 at 5:28pm BST

That's not what the House of Bishops said in 1993; or in 2005. The terminology in Church law was changed by the government last December to reflect its introduction of civil partnerships.

Durham and Winchester will certainly be able to explain the facts on their visit to the States.

Posted by: Alan Marsh on Sunday, 13 August 2006 at 6:11pm BST

"Why not just be "open and honest" (which seems to be the prerequisite in ECUSA-world) and say that you don't want to belong to the Anglican Communion?" Alan Marsh

Holy Vaca, the vultures are encircling!

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Sunday, 13 August 2006 at 7:03pm BST

Fact is, any casual observor can see that any number of published Anglican documents, heritage or new, are actively in play as touchstones for our conversation. Simply none of these documents is anything like worldwide communion canon low, or confessional church standard. Or shall we cave in when angry, conservative believers rebel - against leeway? Against inquiry? Against keeping an Anglican open mind?

(There may be other important documents too, say the science journals I keep mentioning?)

Nobody is referencing the missing essay, To Set Our Hope On Christ.

No conservative believer so far actually wishes to honestly discuss whether two men or two women in early love, or later mature committed love, might actually be expressing embodied care and welcome, spilling in good living outwards upon the people lucky enough to have them as part of their religious community, work teams, or local neighborhoods. Even less do they wish to talk, face to face, globally, with any high functioning, gifted, and lovely Queer Folks in real life who have been invisibly thriving and falling whole in love, unknown, among them. How much easier to talk about queers as drunkards, perverts, spreaders of sexually transmitted diseases, living in a dark, shadowy subterranean demi-monde our legacy prejudices have helped to construct as their central life’s pathway?

Not noting these ideas and reasons does not erase them, really. Increasingly, the poll trends show, younger people already know and love the Queer Folks among them, much more often than was supposed to be the prior case.

The great conservative cry so far? If we change this view by empirically updating what we know about human/animal sexuality, our whole theology will simply cave in. Full stop. According to conservatives, the very possiblity of doing Christian theology at all will dry up, blow away, and be locked away in a museum case for failed world religions.

(Ah, no, dear ones. All you have to do is let go of the flat earth bits, and give thanks to God that you corrected some long-standing erroneous ideas about human nature?)

Posted by: drdanfee on Sunday, 13 August 2006 at 7:46pm BST

And the Church went along with it - because they had no choice.

In addition, gay couple in relationships are welcome as communicant members of the Church of England, as are those who support them.

Posted by: Merseymike on Sunday, 13 August 2006 at 7:53pm BST

Dear JH, thanks ever so much for the clues to Krister Stendahl and Pauline studies. I think this is right on target for what I have been dimly discerning as Penal Frames. This inquiry offers me a way to gain better, more particular traction as I try to journey deeper into non-penal frames/domains/territories.

Yes, light bulbs on softly clicking on, though of course I am just a lay person and will have to read and reread and reread somebody like Krister S. to get the point.

Here are some additional links as steps into inquiry.

At: http://www.thepaulpage.com/Stendahl.html

A review of KS article/book.

At: http://www.greek-language.com/paul/questions/Stendahl2.pdf

Some academic form study questions which rather get to the various points that KS is making. I think these will help me not get lost as I get acquainted.

And of course KS books from your local seller/reseller, or online seller.

Posted by: drdanfee on Sunday, 13 August 2006 at 10:33pm BST

Martin: You can contact The Rev. Dr. Don Armentrout, at the seminary at the University of the South (Sewanee) for a comprehensive list of "split-offs". I still have the notebook he provided for us while there, but it would probably be easier if you contacted him directly.

Posted by: marc on Monday, 14 August 2006 at 12:07am BST

All right, siblings, let's not panic. First, Wimberly has set himself apart from Akinola's and others' calls to the Network to choose between the Network and the Episcopal Church. I don't know what to make of Stanton's participation, but the others named so far have not taken those positions.

Second, it will be interesting to see if anyone wants to parse what the four principles mean. As has been noted, Lambeth 1.10 was stated in 1998, and can be reviewed and affirmed or rejected in 2008. (Think what a difference it would make to have the Nigeria- and Uganda-leaning bishops not attend!) Moreover, both Lambeth 1.10 and the Windsor Process call for listening; and while that's been visible more in the breach than in the observance, any bishop who would sign on to this new set of principles would then be accountable for making that real.

So, what shall these two English bishops say? If Wright really wants folks to reach as far as possible, he will certainly not call for recognition of this, or any other, group instead of the General Convention. These certainly include dioceses that are broad on ordination of women. Indeed, Wimberly's own diocese just elected a woman suffragan, who was confirmed at this General Convention. Notwithstanding the presence of +Stanton, let's see who actually comes, and what they actually say.

So, will this create a new divisive group, or establish a new loyal (as opposed to the disloyal Network) opposition? We can wait and see.

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Monday, 14 August 2006 at 2:08am BST

"In addition, gay couple in relationships are welcome as communicant members of the Church of England"

This is not the view of the Church of England whose Synod voted very substantially in 1987 (403 votes to 8)

"(1) that sexual intercourse is an act of total commitment which belongs properly within a permanent married relationship;
(2) that fornication and adultery are sins against this ideal, and are to be met by a call to repentance and the exercise of compassion;
(3) that homosexual genital acts also fall short of this ideal, and are likewise to be met by a call to repentance and the exercise of compassion"

http://216.239.59.104/search?q=cache:2AOdg6xaA3MJ:www.cofe.anglican.org/info/socialpublic/marriage.html+General+Synod+Higton&hl=en&gl=uk&ct=clnk&cd=1

Those who come to Church of England churches are all to be welcomed, but that welcome must include a call to live according to the moral teaching of the Church, exemplified in (1), as part of the teaching ministry of the local church.

On the Church of England's web site you will also find the following statement:

"Secondly, in December 1991, the House of Bishops published a statement, Issues in Human Sexuality (CHP 1991). This endorsed the traditional Christian belief that the teaching of the Bible is that heterosexual marriage is the proper context for sexual activity between two people. It went on to declare that what it called 'homophile' orientation and activity could not be endorsed by the Church as:

'... a parallel and alternative form of human sexuality as complete within the terms of the created order as the heterosexual. The convergence of Scripture, Tradition and reasoned reflection on experience, even including the newly sympathetic and perceptive thinking of our own day, make it impossible for the Church to come with integrity to any other conclusion. Heterosexuality and homosexuality are not equally congruous with the observed order of creation or with the insights of revelation as the Church engages with these in the light of her pastoral ministry.'"

Posted by: Alan Marsh on Monday, 14 August 2006 at 2:11am BST

Not the full picture of 1991, Alan. Although I find 1991 entirely inadequate, it acknowledged that some Christians in gay relationships will come to different conclusions and that they should be welcomed as full members of the Church.

So, a Bishop such as James Jones of Liverpool, has administered Communion to both me and my partner, in full knowledge of our situation. I am not currently attending an Anglican church, but when I did, again, I received communion without any problem.

Gay people in relationships, are, thus, welcome as communicant members of the CofE. That does not mean that the CofE is not institutionally homophobic - your quotes display that they remain so, but this does not mean that gay people in relationships cannot be communicant members of the Church.

Posted by: Merseymike on Monday, 14 August 2006 at 12:17pm BST

I know it's really hard but please *try* to make your comments relate to the topic of the article. It's about "Windsor bishops" in the USA...

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 14 August 2006 at 12:44pm BST

Simon, please forgive me for this tangent, but neo-conservative formation is not unique to the Anglicans. This came up on an internet search today and is an interview with an EMU representative for how the neo-conservatives want to be "more than a faction" within the overly liberalised Australian Uniting Church. My fears about this not being an isolated peculiarity (e.g. to Sydney/Nigeria or Anglicanism) do not seem to be unfounded: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/religionreport/stories/2006/1703764.htm#

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Monday, 14 August 2006 at 1:10pm BST

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s intervention into the internal affairs of the Episcopal Church on the side of the reactionaries is certain to be strongly resented by American churchmen/women. He has now lost what little value he possessed as an “honest broker.” It’s time for British purple shirts to mind their own business! We don’t need your bishops; we have had our own episcopate since 1784, thank you!

Posted by: Kurt on Monday, 14 August 2006 at 1:34pm BST

For now I echo the poster on the Mark Harris blog who wrote: I find it very hard at present to understand where Canterbury is either standing or going.

This is getting to be like the cliff hanger serials they used to show way back when I was a youngster. The hero was always dangling off cliffs at the end of the episode, only to just squeak through and fight another day in the next episode. Is there some deeper connection between being a conservative believer these days, and being an adrenalin junkie? Lord Have Mercy.

Can anyone who knows CoE comment on these two particular bishops as emissaries? How Canterbury could go around GC goes right over my head. What might Canterbury want? (Other than to roll the clock back?)

Posted by: drdanfee on Monday, 14 August 2006 at 2:52pm BST

I can't condemn the "Windsor bishops" for holding a meeting. I hope we are not so far down the track that we can't abide people agreeing to meet and talk together. Our canons do not yet forbid that. Nevertheless, I remain concerned.

I'm concerned about the confessional statement that attendees are expected to subscribe to. That's generally not how we do it.

I'm concerned that the official representatives of the ABC are an implicit statement that GC did not go far enough to meet the demands of Windsor. While I've seen partisans state that unequivocally, I haven't yet heard the ABC say that.

Posted by: ruidh on Monday, 14 August 2006 at 3:43pm BST

The website cited by Cheryl Clough is fascinating. The interviews and the naming of the method of creating a fifth Column within the Church sounds very like the shenanigans of the dissident minority in TEC, who having been outvoted create their own small, eccentric (in the literal meaning) bodies--but give them high falutin titles.

I find the political agenda, intellectual dishonesty and lack of a sense of fair play of great concern.

Thank goodness, that apart form a relatively few addicts like myself, most people ignore all this --and indeed, have a healthy semi-detachedness to religion !

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Monday, 14 August 2006 at 3:46pm BST

I wondered if Canterbury had sent these two bishops, as a way of keeping an eye on them / on things, a way of influencing them, or reigning them in; and also making it hard(er) for them to break with TEC and GC. Those at this meeting would find it harder to claim no-one is listening to us. No one cares. I still think Rowan cares about us all. But he has his work cut-out. I'm certain that he literally means well.
Perhaps the reminder is needed that things are done differently in Wales. And Rowan has come from the small, 'free' bilingual Welsh Church to the larger monoglot State Church in England. In Wales, personal meeting and contact is possible, frequently. Things are that much smaller, more personal and humanly do-able. Simultaneous translation makes it a reality that people speaking different languages can particpate together in meetings, synods, etc...as is the norm in local governement, and so on, across the land. If only anglican meetings had 'simultaneous translation' for the various tongues we speak !

I hadn't had the thought that he was trying to undermine GC or TEC.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Monday, 14 August 2006 at 4:02pm BST

Is KJS a 'Windsor bishop' ?

This little vignette (lifted from T19) made me laugh -- and I offer it for your delectation ! :-)
This woman could run the AC (Canterbury) and TEC, hands tied behind her back !

'In an interview Saturday afternoon after arriving to preach for the Corvallis congregation Sunday, she joked about a moment shortly after her election when she got a glimpse of what might be ahead.

She said Robinson was one of the first to congratulate her during the denomination’s triennial convention in Columbus, Ohio. Laughing, she said, “He came up to me and said ‘I feel so yesterday!’” '

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Monday, 14 August 2006 at 4:20pm BST

Thanks Marc, I shall write, though I am still struggling through the list found at Anglicans Online that Columba pointed me to. You would think this was a spoof!

On the definitive character of Lambeth 1.10 we have to see that whatever the current posture of the Bench of Bishops in England it does not see this particular show of hands as having settled anything - else it would not be engaged in the “debate” it is sponsoring the length and breadth of its jurisdiction. Definitive does not mean in this context: “providing a final decision that will not be questioned or changed” – perhaps it is more like: “recognized as being the most authoritative and of the highest standard” though I like the definition as applied to postage stamps: “sold for an extended or indefinite period …”.

It was perhaps the refusal of the authors of the Windsor Report to declare this matter as “decided by Divine Law” that causes the Global South the most problems – rather, paragraph 146 acknowledges the variety of sincerely held views and recognises the debate is far from over.

It does no credit to those who have drafted the Texas Statement to miss this essential WINDSOR point and pretend otherwise, let alone others who wish to use this opportunity for “mission creep” so well demonstrated by bls in the first comment above.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Monday, 14 August 2006 at 4:52pm BST

Laurence, you threw a dog a bone :-)

The neo-puritans on both sides are scrambling (scenes from last day of Revelation - the end is near, the bad guys are panicking, things are going to get worse before they get better).

The wasteful shepherds on both sides have been caught with their pants down. The 16th International AIDS Conference launched this week in Toronto is being attended by over 24,000 delegates and 3,000 journalists; and it opened with a broadside slap against every religious group that is actually hindering the fight against AIDS. Bill Gates referred to the critical need to protect women, most especially their RIGHT to have safe sex and the disparate treatment of women segregated hospitals made me want to cry see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4787923.stm

I have started to re-paraphrase Zechariah 3:1-10, but instead of rebuking Satan for dismissing Joshua in his 'filthy' clothes, it is rebukking him for dismissing women for their 'filthy' genitals...

Finally, this is offbeat, but it is a lovely parallel analysis of how certain wasteful shepherds are no longer appealing to the religiously pure, but are now trying to make out that they are there for all oppressed peoples. http://www.countercurrents.org/leb-hashmi280706.htm

I can't help but snicker that for all the wasteful shepherds' (of whatever denomination) their calls to the "oppressed" are not going to cut a lot of ice with the "filthy" women who are going to look to the Old Testament God as a God desired by women (Daniel 11:37) because that God loves both masculine and feminine, the pure and the afflicted, the worthy and the unworthy... That God pours down the rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous. That God hates those who act as the Edomites (see Obadiah) who not only stand aloof, but actually attack 1:14 "You should not wait at the crossroads to cut down their fugitives, nor hand over their survivors in the day of their trouble"

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Monday, 14 August 2006 at 6:31pm BST

"I'm certain that he [the ABC] literally means well."

Well for sure. And people who "mean well" and are indecisive and shilly-shally and try not to offend anyone and have no spine and no intestinal fortitude find themselves easily used and manipulated by purposeful bullies. My sainted mother would have looked at all this and called the ABC a gutless wonder.

I say to him and to his flying bishops: butt out!

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Tuesday, 15 August 2006 at 2:59am BST

From my perspective in the Church of England it does surprise me that the Archbishop of Canterbury keeps 'sending' English bishops of a certain stamp to take part in ECUSA discussions. You might get a different impression if other English diocesan bishops came.

[That said, I don't easily imagine circumstances in which the C of E would welcome the interference of U.S. bishops (of pretty much one mind) in our thinking. I fear that the Church of England has never realized that ECUSA is not some sort of lately-autonomous 'daughter church'.]

I have no idea where ++Rowan is going with all this and I don't like some of what seem to be the implications/consequences but I am trying not to judge him. Insulting him won't advance the cause of the Gospel, I suspect.

Meanwhile, spare a thought for us in the Oxford diocese (largely run be 3 'area bishops') as we await the Crown's nomination of a new diocesan bishop. The job is said to be wanted by a number of bishops who want the freedom it would bring to have time to be (interfering?) elsewhere!

Posted by: Lister Tonge on Tuesday, 15 August 2006 at 1:12pm BST

Tom Wright for Oxford, perhaps?

Posted by: Alan Marsh on Tuesday, 15 August 2006 at 1:54pm BST

I nominate Tom Wright to be a flying bishop -afterall he seems already to be so de facto !
And Michael Doe's See may soon become vacant....
(+Tom Rochdale: has such a lovely ring !)

But again, -who knows what Tony Blair will decide ?

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Tuesday, 15 August 2006 at 7:26pm BST

Would I be out of line in asking if +Tom Wright ever actually stays in his *own* Diocese, and (hopefully) minds his *own* business ?

(mumbles under his breath, "And I thought we had to be wary of invading foreign bishops from the so-called "Global South"...")

Posted by: David Huff on Tuesday, 15 August 2006 at 7:49pm BST
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